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Cost of nuclear build premature, untested - industry body

Sep 13 2016 06:44

Johannesburg – The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (Niasa) says “assertions and pronouncements” about the cost of the Nuclear Build Programme (NBP) are “premature” and “untested”.

In a statement, Niasa said it supports calls for transparency in the NBP, following the announcement by Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, that Request For Proposals (RFPs) would be released on 30 September 2016.

“The official RFP and response of vendors will be the first indication of what nuclear energy will cost the fiscus,” stated the organisation.

The project can create employment and help the economy grow, according to Knox Msebenzi, managing director at Niasa.

However, City Press reported that the nuclear project would have negative socioeconomic impacts, including wide-scale job losses and accelerated poverty levels, said environmental justice organisations Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the SA Faith Communities Environment Institute (Safcei).

Both organisations are engaged in legal proceedings against the Department of Energy over agreements signed with Russia’s nuclear firm Rosatom ahead of the official procurement process.

READ: Nuclear deal will be a financial MELTDOWN

Fin24 previously reported that the 9.6 GW nuclear energy programme, is expected to cost around R650bn over its 10-year lifespan. The total project is estimated to cost R1.8trn. The programme would effectively see another three or four power stations built either near Koeberg or near Jeffrey’s Bay in the Eastern Cape.

ALSO READ: Controversial nuclear programme to launch at month-end

Niasa is calling for the programme to support skills development and localisation to be part of the founding principles in selecting vendors through the procurement process. This will ensure “tangible development” and “meaningful employment” for the communities where the plants will be located, it stated. 

“It is up to government to find the optimal financing with the multiple objectives of security of electrical power supply and economic development,” stated Msebenzi. He added that the financing model should allow for flexibility where adjustments for timing of the construction is needed.

KPMG economist Christie Viljoen previously told Fin24 that Treasury will have to fund the project. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan could share more on this when he delivers the medium term budget policy. 

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electricity  |  nuclear energy

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